Hedy Polifroni Krenn '97 has always loved animals. In fact, when she was growing up in New Castle, she tried to bring a couple chicks home from elementary school. Her parents didn't think it was such a great idea, considering they had cats. Today she and her husband, well-known Pittsburgh character Jim Krenn, share their Green Tree home with five dogs and one cat, many of them rescues from Animal Friends, a local no-kill animal shelter.
A marketing major at Robert Morris, today Krenn is an accomplished hatha yoga instructor, having studied for two years at the esteemed Himalayan Institute of Pittsburgh. She is also a former model and has been featured on the cover of Muscle Training Illustrated as well as in the campaigns of organizations such as UPMC and Pittsburgh Brewing. Last May she took part in Dancing with the Celebrities of Pittsburgh, an annual event that benefits local charities.
What was your RMU experience like?
I loved it. From the first time I visited Robert Morris, I thought the campus had a great community feel. Living on campus was so much fun. We'd play practical jokes on each other in the dorm, go to basketball games. The education was amazing and so were the people. I'm still very close to some of my Robert Morris friends today.
What's it like being Pittsburgh royalty?
That's funny! I like that. I know if we really were Pittsburgh royalty, Jimmy would demand that his crown have the Steelers logo on it.
How did you get into modeling?
My mother had been a model, so I always had an interest in it. While I was in college, my friend talked me into meeting with a couple casting companies downtown. I ended up doing some local work and even lived in New York for a month at a time. But in the end I wanted to be back home with Jimmy.
What led you to being a yoga instructor?
I actually have a bad back, and I decided to try yoga. It really helped me feel better. Plus, I've always enjoyed fitness – running, working out in the gym, and Pilates – so I really enjoy that part of it.
Why do you and Jimmy support Animal Friends?
We first became involved through a friend who was in charge of the organization, and from there it just blossomed. The people there are wonderful, and they're really doing great work. They do amazing things, and their heart is truly in the right place.
Were you a dancer before taking part in Dancing with the Celebrities of Pittsburgh?
No. I'm definitely not a dancer. But it was for a great cause. The real star of the show was this boy from Haiti, Fredo, who was adopted by a family from Pittsburgh after the earthquake destroyed his orphanage. Seeing his big smile reminded everyone where their money was going.
Has anyone ever changed your life?
Definitely my grandparents, Romaine and Jack. Jimmy always says there are many things you can do in life, but when you pass, people don't remember you for what you did as much as how you treated people. They were wonderful role models. They used to run a TV and radio shop in their hometown of Franklin. They didn't do things for the money but instead for the people. I was lucky to know them.
How is your German shepherd puppy, Kota, getting along with the other members of your pet family?
At 70 pounds, he's already the biggest one, so he's brought some serious life to the house. He's really interested in Elvis, our 6-year-old cat, and he's always trying to play with him. Of course, Elvis wants nothing to do with him.
I know you don't have any birds in your menagerie, but do you “tweet”?
I just got on Facebook, and I'm trying to learn about the ‘tweeting’ thing, but I don't think it's going to happen. I mean, what am I gonna say? “I woke up... took the dogs out for a walk... changed the litter box?”
You've got the dogs and cats covered. Any chance of adding a lizard or maybe even a snake to the mix?
That would be fun, but I'm pretty sure my two beagles would think they were snack food.